How Retirement Housing Will Evolve for the Baby Boomer Generation

The Baby Boomer generation — the generation of Americans born in the years following World War II — is a generation unlike any other.

It’s fitting, then, that as Baby Boomers reach retirement, the housing choices they’ll make will be equally unique.

According to a December 7 Senior Housing News article, the retirement communities of tomorrow will more closely resemble downtown urban developments than the stereotypical retirement home that most people imagine when thinking about senior housing options.

Studies are showing that as retirement draws nearer for younger generations like the Baby Boomers, their preferences lean nearer to senior housing options that are within walking distance of retail, dining and entertainment centers — a community within a community. These more urbanized, multi-generational developments mark a stark contrast from today’s retirement communities, that are often more akin to upscale suburban housing developments.

“This is definitely a trend to watch out for. The baby boomers are more of an active community that the previous generation. Soon we’ll be seeing many retirement communities located near big cities that also offer the golf courses,” says Melissa Barry, regional director of business development for Solterra. “Picture an entire block of NYC — everything that’s included in that one block will most likely be included in future retirement communities.”

However, according to the Senior Housing News article, establishing such a senior living concept is easier said than done, as most Baby Boomers won’t be actually moving into a retirement community for at least another 15 years. In addition, there’s often less available space to build in urban areas than in the suburbs.

Accommodating Baby Boomers may offer some new challenges for builders to face, but the news isn’t all bad. New findings from the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI) show that builder confidence for senior housing developments is at its highest since 2008.

In the third quarter of 2014, the 55+ Housing Market Index jumped nine points from the same time last year, Senior Housing News reports. That brings consumer and builder confidence up to its pre-recession levels, meaning the retirement housing industry has reached a full recovery since the economic recession of a few years ago.

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